In 1950s Tuscany, a traveling nurse (Verena, played by Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones) arrives to care for a young boy (Jakob, played by Edward Dring) who has not spoken since the death of his mother.
The boy lives in an aging estate house that belonged to his mother; her family for centuries has profited from the local quarry, but it has been flooded since the war. His mother was a famed pianist who died suddenly from a fever; his father Klaus (played by Marton Csokas) is a brooding, angry sculptor who no longer works his craft.
Verena has a gift with children, but must abandon each child as she moves on to her next case. She is convinced the boy is choosing not to speak, but she does not know about the instructions the dying mother gave to her son…
As the movie develops, Verena learns she has not been told the full truth – that the boy believes the stones in the house are communicating with him. She tries to persuade him otherwise.
This is an atmospheric, elegant movie with beautiful cinematography. The plot develops slowly, teasing the viewer: is the boy insane? could the stones actually talk? what about the spooky servant and the friendly grandmother?
Then finally, the full story reveals itself, there are some surprises, and an unexpected ending.
Emilia Clarke does well as Verena, showing interesting transformations in her character as the story unfolds. Marton Csokas, as the grieving widower, has mixed success – he emotes well, but uses his 'angry face' too often. Edward Dring as the boy does an admirable job of remaining aloof and mysterious.
Unfortunately, the movie teases the viewer by making certain moments almost inaudible ("what did she say?"), which I found more annoying that suspenseful. I also burst into laughter during one of the 'dramatic' moments; probably not what the director intended!
Note that the movie requires the viewer to pay attention to some subtle clues, for the full meaning of the ending to be understood.
Warning: There is some nudity, so the movie might not be appropriate for children.
Can you game it? No, but it might inspire you to attempt a campaign where the players don't know if they are in a mystery or a supernatural scenario!
I didn't mind the slow pace, I had trouble 'believing' the movie at times, but the ending was… interesting (maybe too subtle). Not bad.